Diana crash photographer shouted ‘she’s alive’ moments after crash
A photographer shouted “she’s alive” as paparazzi surrounded the wreckage of the car Diana was in, her inquest heard today. One yelled to a colleague, who was on a scooter an the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma underpass to “come back”, a witness said.
Sebastien Masseron was travelling to Paris with some friends when they came across the crash.
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Crash scene: The wreckage of the car
In a statement to police made just hours after the crash, Mr Masseron said he heard one of the photographers call over to another, as his friend, Damian Dalby, a firefighter, rushed to help the car’s occupants, he said.
Mr Masseron said: “We saw smoke coming from the tunnel. We could see the damaged car. Damian Dalby, went over to try and give first aid.
“At this stage neither the fire brigade or the police arrived.
“We had not heard a crash, but it had only just happened.
“There were no other vehicles in that part of the tunnel, where the crash had taken place. There was however, people around the vehicle.
“I heard one photographer call over to a colleague who was on a scooter at the end of the tunnel: “come back, come back, she’s alive.”
Mr Masseron said onlookers had begun crowding around the Mercedes, which had its rear right hand door open.
“You could see a woman,” he said in the statement, which was read to the jury sitting at the High Court in London today.
A statement by Audrey Lemaigre, who was in the same car as Mr Masseron, made shortly after the crash, was also read to the inquest.
Miss Lemaigre, said four or five men appeared to be taking photos of the wreckage when they came across it.
She said: “One of them shouted, ‘she’s alive, she’s alive.
“A man on a scooter stopped beside me. He was on the phone, but I do not know to whom he was speaking. I think he had a camera.
“One of the others with a camera in the underpass came over and spoke to him, and then went back to the scene of the accident.”
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Smiling: Diana was caught on CCTV on the evening of the crash
Miss Lemaigre said as she and her friends were leaving the scene, a man noted down their car’s registration number.
“He had a bag, he was one of a group of people who approached us and starting asking questions,” she said.
“I close the window and did not answer them.”
Earlier today, the evidence of one witness, Frenchman Jacques Morel, was called into question.
Mr Morel yesterday told the inquest he saw a line of 10 to 12 photographers and a man with a video camera just inside the tunnel before the crash, waiting for Diana and Dodi to arrive.
Mr Morel has written a book in which he suggests the crash was a photo opportunity gone wrong, the jury was told.
He alleges that French photographer James Andanson planned to stop the Mercedes in the underpass so paparazzi could take pictures of and interview Diana and Dodi.
Mr Morel admitted to the inquest he had never seen Mr Andanson before, but claimed he had seen “secret and confidential documents” supporting his theories.
Under cross examination today, Michael Mansfield QC, lawyer for Mohammed al Fayed, whose son Dodi was killed alongside the Princess asked Mr Morel if the “secret papers” really exist.
Mr Mansfield said: “I suggest to you that this file does not exist, does it?”
Speaking via videolink from Paris, Mr Morel replied: “How would you like to bet? I can bet with you one million US dollars and if you bet with me, I can send you the file within 24 hours.”
But asked later why he had not produced the file for the inquest, he said he was not in a position to do so.
Richard Keen QC, representing the family of driver Henri Paul, later asked Mr Morel: “There was a crash in the Alma tunnel at about half an hour after midnight on August 31, 1997, were you actually there?”
Mr Morel replied: “Yes, I was there. I don’t think I dreamed it, there are things that I saw and heard.”
Richard Horwell QC, counsel for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, then asked Mr Morel about his unpublished book.
He listed several points, including the idea that James Andanson was behind a conspiracy connected to the crash, that Henri Paul was a paid informant of secret service agencies and that CCTV footage captures the Mercedes route to the underpass, but has never been revealed to the authorities.
Mr Morel agreed these points were in his book.
Mr Horwell asked if Mr Morel wanted to “make a lot of money” from his book.
Mr Morel replied: “I just hope to recover the money I have lost during the last ten years. The rest is for the children in the third world.”
Mr Horwell then asked: “The truth is you will write and say anything to make money, won’t you?”
“I do not write anything, I say what I have heard and what I have seen,” Mr Morel replied.
Source : The Daily Mail